The Bishop of the Ozarks (1923)

Melodrama | 4 February 1923

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HISTORY

The screen debut of author, lecturer, and former Alabama congressman Milford W. Howard was announced in the 3 Jun 1922 Camera. Writer-director Finis Fox had recently been engaged by Cosmopolitan Film Co. to direct and scenarize Howard’s original story, The Bishop of the Ozarks. Principal photography began later that month at the Fine Arts Studio in Hollywood, CA, as noted in the 17 Jun 1922 Camera. In an article for the 8 Jul 1922 issue, Fox stated that he had been working closely with Howard, internalizing the author’s “ideals” as if they were his own, through “the natural process of understanding.”
       The 19 Aug 1922 Camera included child actor Wilfred Lee among the cast. The item also noted that Lee was expected to return to his hometown of Pine Bluff, AR, after the close of production. Also joining the cast was fifty-five-year-old newcomer Mrs. Milo Adams, declared the “mother of the studio” in the 15 Jun 1922 Camera, because her East Hollywood apartment was always open to Fine Arts employees. That same issue noted that Finis Fox screened four completed reels of the film for its investors, all of whom were reportedly pleased. The 22 Jul 1922 Camera credited Guy Bogart as publicity director for the picture.
       The impending close of production was announced in the 3 Aug 1922 Film Daily, although a studio chart in the 29 Jul 1922 Camera revealed that filming had already been completed An item in the 19 Aug 1922 Camera stated that the story was ...

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The screen debut of author, lecturer, and former Alabama congressman Milford W. Howard was announced in the 3 Jun 1922 Camera. Writer-director Finis Fox had recently been engaged by Cosmopolitan Film Co. to direct and scenarize Howard’s original story, The Bishop of the Ozarks. Principal photography began later that month at the Fine Arts Studio in Hollywood, CA, as noted in the 17 Jun 1922 Camera. In an article for the 8 Jul 1922 issue, Fox stated that he had been working closely with Howard, internalizing the author’s “ideals” as if they were his own, through “the natural process of understanding.”
       The 19 Aug 1922 Camera included child actor Wilfred Lee among the cast. The item also noted that Lee was expected to return to his hometown of Pine Bluff, AR, after the close of production. Also joining the cast was fifty-five-year-old newcomer Mrs. Milo Adams, declared the “mother of the studio” in the 15 Jun 1922 Camera, because her East Hollywood apartment was always open to Fine Arts employees. That same issue noted that Finis Fox screened four completed reels of the film for its investors, all of whom were reportedly pleased. The 22 Jul 1922 Camera credited Guy Bogart as publicity director for the picture.
       The impending close of production was announced in the 3 Aug 1922 Film Daily, although a studio chart in the 29 Jul 1922 Camera revealed that filming had already been completed An item in the 19 Aug 1922 Camera stated that the story was being adapted for the stage by Mrs. R. D. Shepherd.
       According to the 16 Sep 1922 Camera, a preview of the film was held the previous week at Huntley’s Theatre in Hollywood. The theater manager claimed that audience response was generally positive.
       The 23 Sep 1922 issues of Camera and Motion Picture News announced that the film had been acquired for distribution by Robertson-Cole Co., under its new name, Film Booking Offices of America (FBO). As stated in the 9 Dec 1922 Motion Picture News, FBO sponsored a contest through Film Fun magazine to find a new stage name for lead actress Derelys Perdue. A prize of fifty dollars was offered to the winning entry. The contest was apparently not successful, as Perdue continued her career for several more years under her original name. The 7 Apr 1928 Univeral Weekly later noted that she was chosen by the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers (WAMPAS) as one of its 1923 “Baby Stars.”
       The Bishop of the Ozarks opened on 4 Feb 1923 to tepid reviews in 10 Mar 1923 Exhibitors Herald and the 17 Mar 1923 Motion Picture News, the latter of which noted that the film’s ongoing references to mysticism would likely be lost on many viewers. The 1-15 Apr 1923 Screen Opinions advised exhibitors to avoid the picture, describing it as poorly adapted and directed, with a cast of “unfamiliar players.”

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Camera
3 Jun 1922
p. 4
Camera
17 Jun 1922
p. 4
Camera
24 Jun 1922
p. 6
Camera
8 Jul 1922
p. 7, 15
Camera
15 Jul 1922
p. 7, 17
Camera
22 Jul 1922
p. 7
Camera
29 Jul 1922
p. 17
Camera
19 Aug 1922
p. 6, 18
Camera
26 Aug 1922
p. 7
Camera
16 Sep 1922
p. 7
Camera
23 Sep 1922
p. 18
Exhibitors Herald
10 Mar 1923
p. 50
Film Daily
3 Aug 1922
p. 4
Film Daily
22 Aug 1922
p. 2
Motion Picture News
23 Sep 1922
p. 1481
Motion Picture News
9 Dec 1922
p. 2912
Motion Picture News
17 Mar 1923
p. 1291
Moving Picture World
1 Jul 1922
p. 36
MPN Booking Guide
Apr 1923
p. 31
Screen Opinions
1-15 Apr 1923
p. 8
Universal Weekly
7 Apr 1928
p. 15
DETAILS
Release Date:
4 February 1923
Production Date:
ended late Jul 1922
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Cosmopolitan Film Co.
23 January 1923
LP18615
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in feet):
4,852
Length(in reels):
6
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Escaped convict Tom Sullivan changes clothes with minister Roger Chapman (who is later killed), then takes up the pastor's work in the Ozark mountains and cares for Chapman's daughter, Margery. Tom wins the love and respect of the people and becomes chaplain of the state prison, while Margery acquires two suitors--Dr. Paul Burroughs, who offers her love, and Dr. Earl Godfrey, who has her under his evil influence. Tom is exposed but is pardoned by the governor; Margery chooses Dr. Burroughs. "Mysticism has been resorted to in several instances. There is a spiritual seance, a persistent strain of mental telepathy and a definite instance in which the occult powers of evil are demonstrated." ( Moving Picture World, 10 Mar ...

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Escaped convict Tom Sullivan changes clothes with minister Roger Chapman (who is later killed), then takes up the pastor's work in the Ozark mountains and cares for Chapman's daughter, Margery. Tom wins the love and respect of the people and becomes chaplain of the state prison, while Margery acquires two suitors--Dr. Paul Burroughs, who offers her love, and Dr. Earl Godfrey, who has her under his evil influence. Tom is exposed but is pardoned by the governor; Margery chooses Dr. Burroughs. "Mysticism has been resorted to in several instances. There is a spiritual seance, a persistent strain of mental telepathy and a definite instance in which the occult powers of evil are demonstrated." ( Moving Picture World, 10 Mar 1923.)

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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.